Sunday, 28 October 2007 00:00

Like Father Like Son: Breaking Free from Generational Sins

Genesis 26:1-7 (KJV)

And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.

Have you ever wondered why it is you struggle with particular sins in your life. Maybe you love material things and are deeply in debt. Maybe you easily get really angry. Or what about your struggle with sexual immorality, or your gossiping tongue that has caused you trouble? I believe the Bible teaches that sins are often generational in nature. "When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, She is my sister..." (v.7). "Abraham said of his wife, She is my sister..." (Genesis 20:2). The sins of the father are duplicated in the life of the son. This is not the only time in Scripture we see this pattern. "Ahaziah did evil... because he walked in the ways of his father Ahab" (I Kings 22:51).

  1. The Bible does not speak of generational "curses"—but rather generational sins.
    There is judgment for the sin of one man—Adam. There is righteousness through the obedience of another man—the last Adam (Jesus Christ). You are either in Adam or in Christ. The curse of sin and death is removed by Jesus Christ, but you still battle. You will never properly fight against sin until you recognize the curse of sin is gone. "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:2). Blindness from birth was associated with God's curse. It wasn't pleasant to be blind. Jesus said, "Neither this man or his parents, but that the works of God might be seen."
  2. Generational sins are important to consider because of their stronghold.
    I am not sure children struggle with the same sins their parents struggle with in life. It could be genetics. It could be environment. I could be demonic or something else. "They stood and confessed their sins and the wickedness of their fathers" (Nehemiah 9:1). Confessing the sins of your fathers is not to shift blame, but to acknowledge the struggle.
  3. Generational sins can be broken so that the sins of the father are not passed down.
    Whether you are single, the parent of one child or many children, or even a child yourself, the responsibility to break generational sins lies upon yo—not your kids.
    1. The Christian who feels his own sin helps his kids.
      Someone says, "Now wait a minute. My children are alcoholics and I never touched liquor." Maybe so, but have you ever asked why it is that you son or daughter is wrapped up in narcotics to dull the pain of life? Could it be that the sin of the family is the inability to be real, open and transparent about life? Or could it be that the anger over the sins of your kids reveals the sin in you?
    2. The Christian who focuses on the sins of his soul heals his kids.
      Of the seven deadly sins in Proverbs 6, a majority of them are sins of the soul. Pride, wicked imaginations, deceit, sowing discord, etc... One of the reasons Isaac probably lied about his wife is because his dad never told him about the time he followed after God and was really afraid himself. The greatest thing you could ever do to help another is to speak life into the soul of that person.
    3. The Christian who finds joy in Christ hands to his kids real life.
      It's not religion, rules, or regulations—it is a soul-satisfying relationship with Christ. He is my source of real joy—not money, not things, not fame, etc.

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